The Blue Paper Project

Blue Paper Project - Introduction

Australian Federal Government's Green Paper

URGENT: Deadline for submissions is August 31 2000

Defend our future - don't waste it

Contribution to Community Consultation Public Meeting

Resources - Discussion Papers:

Discussion Paper 1: Did you know?

Discussion Paper 2: A better path to security

Discussion Paper 3 :Non-Offensive Defence For Australian Security.

Discussion Paper 4: The US-Australia Military Alliance Skews Australia's Security Policy

Discussion Paper 5: Basic Principles for Security for a New Australia in the New Millennium

Discussion Paper 6 : Australia's Nuclear Reactor: Security Implications

Fact Sheet - Spending on Australian military forces

Campaigning tools - Media releases for local media.

Sample Media Release - Defend our Future Don't Waste It

Letter to Sydney Morning Herald by Dr. Hannah Middleton

Sample submissions

Youth Centre
Out of School Hours (OOSH) - Child Care
University Students

Contribution to Community Consultation Public Meeting by Dr Hannah Middleton - SYDNEY 8 August 2000

Papers from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW)

The CIA itself has warned that deployment of a national missile defence scheme could trigger a regional arms race by raising insecurity in the region.

A decision to deploy the National Missile Defence program is expected to force Russia and China to retain their nuclear weapons on high-alert, making the world a more dangerous place.

US Defence Secretary William Cohen said in Australia on 16 July that Pine Gap had been "very much" involved in NMD since October 1999. Yet two days later on 18 July, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the Australian Government did not know if Pine Gap had been involved in National Missile Defence tests.

This echoes the complaint in 1999 by the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties that MPs were kept in the dark about information that was given to the US Congress or was publicly available.

Members complained that although US Congress officials had visited Pine Gap and received classified briefings about its functions, the Treaties Committee was "entrusted with less information than can be found in a public library".

This abrogation of Australia's sovereignty should not any longer be tolerated.

Over the years Pine Gap has quietly been converted into a front-line base for the controversial National Missile Defence system.

During a May 1992 visit to Australia, the then US Defense Secretary Dick Cheney confirmed that the US bases in Australia were playing a role in the Strategic Defence Initiative or "Star Wars".

Alternatives

A rational reassessment of our security priorities would lead to a number of conclusions which may be at odds with the Federal Government's stated intention of increasing defence spending.

However, they would contribute to an independent policy which would make a major contribution to Australia's security. They include:

These are strategic positions we believe should be taken and should underpin decisions on defence spending if Australia and the region are to be genuinely stable and secure.

Non offensive defence

The Australian Government must adopt an independent and non-aligned non-offensive defence policy which will be efficient, affordable and genuinely serve the defence needs of our country and the need for peace and stability in our region.

A non-offensive defence policy is the best way to ensure our nation's security. This will take advantage of cheaper but efficient alternatives, contributing to national security without diminishing military capability.

Non-offensive defence requires that armed forces and military postures should be (re)structured by simultaneously maximising their defensive and minimising their offensive capabilities.

A meaningful distinction can be made between offensive and defensive postures, strategies and tactics. This is not a distinction between offensive and defensive weapons, but between the nature of delivery systems and, more importantly, between complete formations and postures.

Non-offensive defence is intended to facilitate arms control and disarmament by eliminating one element in competitive arms build-ups, namely reciprocal fears. If a state's armaments are strictly defensive, they will constitute no threat to its adversaries.

Non-offensive defence strengthens peace and security by ruling out pre-emptive attacks and preventive wars. If a state can strengthen its defensive capabilities in times of crisis without posing an increased threat to other states, the vicious circle of competitive military escalation can be avoided.

Non-offensive defence provides effective, yet non-suicidal defence options. Every state has an inalienable right to defend itself and it is preferable that this should be done without risking suicide or global conflagration. Eliminating this risk is also important since it could deter a state from defending itself at all.

Non-offensive defence should be based on affordable low to medium technology as compared with the current high tech and expensive models being used by the Australian Government and encouraged, through arms transfers, in the Asia-Pacific region. Ideally, dependence on arms exports should be replaced by self-sufficiency.

Australia should develop a naval force suited to our needs and entirely within our budget. What we need most is a large fleet of very fast, heavily armed vessels, capable of being swiftly relocated from one port to another so they are never collectively exposed to possible enemy action.

Non-offensive defence would permit a reduction in Australia's military budget - currently $13 billion annually. This could in turn generate a "peace dividend" which would provide major financial resources to satisfy the needs of the people for jobs, housing, education, health care, welfare services, environmental protection, transport and communications, culture and leisure, as well as for social, economic and environmental projects that can help build peace, confidence and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Blue Paper Project is a national NGO initiative which was established in 1993.
It represents over 60 peace, environmental, religious, trade union, women's and political groups from across Australia.
The Project works to inform and stimulate community discussion about our country's security and foreign policies